Ferber was born on April 30, 1906, in New York. He studied dentistry at Columbia University Dental School, graduating in 1930, and pursued his independent studies of art with evening classes at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design and the National Academy of Design.
In 1940 he joined a group of anti-Stalinist artists, including Ilya Bolotowsky, Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko, Meyer Schapiro, David Smith, and Bradley Walker Tomlin in splintering off from the American Artists’ Congress, a primarily Communist group, and founding the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors.
In the beginning he mostly used wood and stone, later on Ferber experimented with steel-reinforced concrete in order to achieve greater open spaces in his works.
Throughout the 1950s, Ferber established, in lectures and exhibitions, his role as a theorist and creator of direct metal sculpture, and by 1961 he had spoken widely on site-specific sculpture.
His work is held in many prominent collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
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